Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Drinks and Snapseed

I'm fairly well committed at this point to the notion that my old RAW workflow is frustratingly untenable and any viable future enjoyment of the photographic process will ultimately involve a mobile editing platform. Mainly my phone. Maybe a tablet. The point is, with the print image being such a niche end goal, and with the vast majority of my photographic work never being done with the intent to print to begin with, I need to suck it up and stop worrying about the pixel level end quality of my images and just publish them.

This past week I've actively been streaming photos on my personal Twitter, and it's been a publishing paradigm I've enjoyed using, even if the analytics aren't there in the same capacity as Flickr (analytics are there, but reading different data). I'm finding it even more enjoyable and low overhead than Instagram, possibly because it's not a photography geared platform. That's the point anymore, I think. Disengaging from photography as a subculture, and simply maintaining it as an ancillary to the true end goal of storytelling. Group bombing on Flickr and slaving away at a laborious RAW workflow stand in the way of storytelling.

Additionally, I'm fairly well committed to drinking. Not for drinking's sake, mind you, I just like photographing beer and cocktails. And while I'm relatively sure that most people don't care, I do, and I would like to share some drinks with you.

Waverly Brewing Company

Rob, Kevin, and I found this brewery by accident wandering Baltimore. It's since become a favorite haunt, with very casual staff who will shoot the shit with you at the bar because they're in it for the beer well above the business.

This brew, 83 North, is named after the JFX highway running just across the street and atop pylons lifting the asphalt out of the Jones Falls waterway. A dry hopped American IPA, it's an Autumn beer with every hallmark trait of a bold IPA.

Ain't That Right, Boo is a fun October seasonal continuing the tradition of prior years, brewing flavorful ales with sugary cereals. Blueberry puree dumped into the mix kicks up the fruity bite, coming off like a dry wine (not at all like a porter, as the cereal base of this brew originally had me thinking in the notional context of cereal with milk).


Kevin introduced Rob and I to this spot after venturing there on a date. It has the sort of speakeasy atmosphere I personally appreciate, dimly lit by little more than candlelight, and staff which is more than enthusiastic about touching up the finer details of a cocktail for art, for flavor, and, when they notice the camera, for photos. I'm not typically a cocktail guy, but with this place I readily make an exception.

Amarosa. Tragically, I can barely begin to describe the variety of flavor notes in each cocktail. They are remarkably complex drinks, some holding heavy smoke from scotch, others cleverly spiced with cracked pepper.

Streets of Guadalajara. What I do wind up remembering clearly (a surprise when imbibing heavy spirits) is conversation. Even at its busiest, the atmosphere is such that everyone speaks softly, unlike bars blasting loud music and thus encouraging shouting matches to overcome the relentless auditory submersion. Simply put, it's easy to vacillate between introspective rumination, momentary epiphany, and then a verbalized idea.

Bird Dog. At some point, inevitably when drinking, you just start saying things without thinking about it. For some folks, that's an invitation to belligerence. My experience tends to be more subversive, the statement of facts in a specific order or endorsement of concepts not actually held, baiting for a reaction or response leading to its own advantageous insight. Admittedly, I have no idea why I do this. More often than not, it is masturbatory, reinforcing things I more or less already know about people.

Damn Daniel. The best nights, though, are those in which the application of social lubricant enables confession. And my most liberating confession was confidently stated on the stoop just outside Sugarvale a few months back. "I have sucked the joy from everything I love". I mentioned this confession before, but it remains a kickoff point for mental breakdown and rebuilding. Without that openly stated admission, even if just to the air, I would never developed complacency with the idea that my business might fail, but that I am actually entirely okay with that thought.

Now for the fluff. I want to order the M. Zuiko PRO 25mm f/1.2, but it's constantly out of stock and that annoys me tremendously. Many of these booze photos were taken with its baby sister lens, the 25mm f/1.8, and I appreciate the focal length, the nature of its focus falloff at reasonably close working distances. Suppose I'm falling back into the same sort of imaging appeals as experienced back in the Nikon days with the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX. Arguably the benefits of the f/1.2 don't necessarily justify the $1200 expense, but while I'm still recording a profit in the business this year, even after replacing stolen goods... what the hell, why not?